Hurricane Maria

On a muggy morning in Rio Piedras, a San Juan suburb, about three dozen volunteers dressed in parrot green polo shirts are gathered in a brightly lit conference room of El Retiro, a retirement community. The group is mostly women between 60 and 80 years old.

"What is resiliency?" asks Miguel Marrero. He's a psychologist and mental health program manager for Americares, a relief and development organization. He leads the discussion in his native Spanish. "We've been hearing this word over and over since Maria."

Miami Herald archives

As the planet heats up, polar ice melts, seas rise and Biblical-size rains become more frequent, hurricanes are expected to get wetter and more intense.

But less certain is how much climate change is making these fierce storms, which target Florida more than any other U.S. state, more punishing now.

Leo A Daly / Courtesy

A Miami-based architect has made it his mission to design hospitals to be more resilient to seismic events and hurricanes. 

Eduardo Egea, from the firm Leo A Daly, has been designing hospitals for almost 25 years. After Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Egea came up with the idea to design a hospital that could ultimately help in the aftermath of a hurricane by using drones to get supplies to patients quickly and easily. “Drones are going to be part of our day-to-day tools that we will use in the future,” he said on Sundial. 

PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

What was planned to be yet another massive strike calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló became a historic day of celebrating a seemingly impossible victory Thursday, following the governor’s announcement the night before that he will be stepping down next week.

But the festivities that followed the governor’s resignation, the first one in the island’s history, were quickly eclipsed Thursday morning with the publication of a series of leaked text messages allegedly exchanged by the woman who is expected to become Rosselló’s successor.

Updated at 2:05 a.m. ET

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation amid a scandal over sexist, homophobic and otherwise offensive text messages he and his inner circle exchanged. The leaked texts set off mass demonstrations and widespread calls for his departure.

"I was willing to face any challenge, fully understanding that I would prevail against any accusation or process," Rosselló, a Democrat who was elected in 2016, said late Wednesday.

Thousands of people flooded the streets of San Juan on Monday, calling for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign from office. The mass demonstrations are expected to be one of the largest protests ever seen in a U.S. territory.

A scandal that recently exposed chat messages Rosselló sent among his inner circle showed the governor and his allies insulting women, gay people and mocking everyday Puerto Ricans, even victims of Hurricane Maria.

In Puerto Rico, nearly two years after hurricane Maria, the need for safe, affordable housing is still a massive challenge. "We have more than a half million people affected. And we have to build, minimum, 75,000 homes, " says Astrid Diaz, a well-known architect in Puerto Rico. She was part of a FEMA team that assessed the island's infrastructure after the storm.

Diaz often appears on television wearing her trademark yellow hardhat, promoting her "Casa Segura-Safe Homes" campaign.

Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria, the town of Utuado is finally getting a new bridge over the Viví River to replace the old concrete and steel one that was heavily damaged during the storm and has been closed ever since.

"This is the main road in and out of town," Héctor Cruz says, as a crew uses a crane and other heavy equipment to construct the new bridge. Cruz is the director of emergency management in Utuado, a community in the highlands of central Puerto Rico.

Courtesy Purpose in Paradise

The U.S. Virgin Islands are finally rebounding after suffering two major hurricanes back-to-back. One tourism innovation may have played a part in that.

Hurricane Maria was the rainiest storm known to have hit Puerto Rico, and climate change is partly to blame, according to a new study.

The worst rain fell in the mountainous central part of Puerto Rico, from the northwest to the southeast. That part of the island is rainy under normal conditions. In an average year, it gets more than 150 inches of rain.

When Maria hit in 2017, it dropped nearly a quarter of that annual rainfall in just one day.

There are few things Democrats and Republicans in Congress usually agree on, but one of them is rushing federal money to victims of natural disasters.

That sentiment crumbled this week when the Senate failed to advance two separate disaster funding bills. Both included bipartisan funding to help relieve damage across the country from flooding, wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes. But a fight over assistance for Puerto Rico has derailed getting a deal on the entire package.

Mabel Román Padró wishes she hadn't had to sue Puerto Rico's government.

But because she did, it translated an important report about Hurricane Maria into Spanish so she and most of the island's residents could read it.

"Access to information has always been hard here," Román said.

Kaitlin Hall / WUFT

On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria pounded Puerto Rico, destroying nearly everything in its path and cutting off the island from the rest of the world.

A year later, the storm is long gone but the memories of near-death experiences and horrific suffering remain fresh for Puerto Ricans.

“We’re going to die here,” Pablo Soto Soto recalls his wife telling him as the storm knocked out their windows and ripped off their roof in Yabucoa.

Read the whole series: Life After Maria, a WUFT Special

Sam Turken / WLRN

Standing alongside Puerto Rican community leaders in Miami on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he didn't want to talk politics on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's landfall in Puerto Rico. 

But that wish gradually gave way as the Democrat from Florida condemned President Donald Trump for disputing the death toll from the hurricane and called on the federal government to do more to rebuild the island. 

UCF Establishes Research Hub For Puerto Rico

Sep 19, 2018

As Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria and evacuees from the island settle in Central Florida, the University of Central Florida has created a Puerto Rico Research Hub designed to identify solutions to challenges and issues affecting the community.

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